What Will Brown Do for Merck?

Includes: ENDP, IDEV, MRK, UPS
by: Mike Huckman

Only two trading days into the new year we've got our first M & A (merger and acquisition) deal of 2009. Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ENDP) announced after the closing bell Monday that it's buying Indevus Pharmaceuticals (IDEV).

IDEV is up big on heavy volume. It's not a huge deal, but some analysts think it's just the first in what could turn out to be a record year for hookups (buyouts and partnerships) in the biopharma sector.

A partnership announced by Merck (NYSE:MRK) yesterday morning, though, is not what they're talking about. But I do find it kind of interesting as another example of the ever-expanding big pharma outsourcing trend. United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) is taking control of two "key" Merck distribution centers that handle the "majority" of the company's drugs and vaccines.

The move gives UPS a total of 3.5 million square feet around the world that's dedicated to healthcare products. Who knew? In addition, the press release says the agreement will save Merck money and, of course, it's all about cutting costs in big pharma these days. However, the companies didn't put a dollar value on the deal in the release.